The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) recently recognized Ohio for having more LEED-certified K-12 schools than any other state in the country.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the world’s most widely used green building rating system.
USGBC, the creators of LEED, honored the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) for assisting more than 300 K-12 buildings across the state to achieve LEED certification. That number makes Ohio the nationwide leader in K-12 sustainable construction, well ahead of second-place California with 121 LEED certified schools.
The recognition was presented to OFCC Executive Director David Williamson at USGBC’s Design
Columbus Education Day, held at Ohio State University. Williamson noted that this has been a 10-year process for the commission, which first mandated the use of environmentally friendly design techniques in state-funded K-12 projects back in 2007.
“Our commission has always stressed innovation and new ideas into our program,” Williamson added. “We believe that our efforts in this area have yielded both environmental benefits and operational cost savings for public owners in Ohio. We look forward to our continued work with USGBC in this vital area.”
Ohio’s LEED-certified schools are designed to be more energy efficient, save money and reduce resource consumption. Buildings in OFCC-funded LEED projects are designed, on average, to be 33 percent more energy efficient, reduce potable water consumption by 35 percent, and provide healthier learning environments for children. The 300 school projects have implemented recycling practices that have diverted an average of 77 percent construction waste for each project, meaning that more than 500,000 tons of waste have been kept out of local landfills.
The program also has an economic impact, the commission pointed out: through LEED, the OFCC has spent approximately $1.4 billion to purchase products and materials within 500 miles of each project, thus supporting the local economies.
“Where we learn matters. At the U.S. Green Building Council we believe that children all over the world deserve the opportunity to learn in a green school that sustains the world they live in, enhances their health and well-being and prepares them to be global sustainability citizens,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC CEO & president. “We applaud Mr. Williamson and the OFCC for their commitment to Ohio’s students. By prioritizing green schools, the OFCC is leading the way and helping USGBC continue toward our vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation.”
In addition to Ohio’s comprehensive public K-12 school construction and renovation program, the OFCC guides capital construction projects for state agencies and state-supported universities and community colleges as well.